Residency in Brief

In general, to qualify for the resident tuition rate at a community college based on residence in the State of New York, a student must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or in a qualifying immigration status (see section below regarding qualifying immigration statuses); AND
  • Have continuously maintained his/her principal place of abode in the State of New York for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes AND
  • Either (1) have continuously maintained his/her principal place of abode in New York City for at least the last six months immediately preceding the first day of classes OR (2) if the student is a resident of a New York State county outside of New York City, obtain and present a valid certificate of residence to the CUNY community college from his/her home county; AND
  • Have a bona fide intention of living in New York permanently.

Eligibility for Residency Tuition Rate


  • Generally, a dependent student’s state of residency is considered the same as that of his or her custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
  • The legal residence of a dependent student whose parents are divorced, separated, or otherwise living apart will be considered New York State if the student resides for 12 months with the parent who is a New York State resident.
  • To be designated a New York State resident, a student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) reside out-of-state must present evidence that he or she meets CUNY’s residency requirements set forth in above, AND EITHER

(a) that he/she is financially independent from his/her parents. Factors taken into account in determining financial independence include, but are not limited to: whether the student is taken as a dependent on parents’ federal and state income tax returns; whether the student is employed and the amount the student earned relative to expenses; the extent of financial support received by the student from parents or guardians; and other sources of student income OR

(b) that he/she, despite being dependent on out-of-state parents(s) or legal guardian(s), has changed his/her domicile, i.e. the place that he/she has a bona fide intention of living permanently, to New York State. Such a showing must be made by clear and convincing evidence. Students who claim that New York is their domicile are expected to have a New York State driver’s license or New York State issued identification card dated a minimum of twelve (12) months prior to the start of the semester. In addition, a student is expected to submit documentary evidence indicating he/she has changed his/her domicile to New York, such as the following:

  1. evidence that the student has filed a New York State resident income tax return for the previous calendar year;
    2. evidence that the student resided in the State of New York for a significant period of time for other-than-educational purposes prior to attending CUNY;
    3. evidence that the student resides in property owned by the student or his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) in the State of New York;
    4. evidence showing that the student uses his/her New York address as his/her sole address of record for all purposes including on health and auto insurance records, bank accounts, tax records, loan and scholarship records, school records, military records, leases and similar kinds of documents.

Students aged 24 and older are considered independent and are not deemed to have the same state of residency as their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

  • In any case, and regardless of any other statements contained in the Manual, a student must first document legal residence prior to establishing another address (including a post office box) as a mailing address.

Pursuant to Section 6206 (7)(a) of the New York State Education Law, students who are not residents of the State of New York, other than those in lawful non-immigration statuses, qualify for the resident tuition rate if one of the following conditions are met:

  • The student has attended an approved New York high school for two or more years, graduated, and applied to attend CUNY within five years of receiving the New York State diploma.
  • The student has attended an approved New York State Program for General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam preparation, received the GED issued within New York State, and applied to attend CUNY within five years of receiving the New York State GED.
  • The student was enrolled in CUNY in the Fall 2001 semester or quarter and was authorized by CUNY to pay tuition at the resident rate. Thus, a student who attended CUNY in the Fall 2001 semester and paid the resident rate does not have to satisfy either condition 1 or 2 above.

To reiterate, a student meeting one of the three conditions set forth above does not need to prove residence in New York State in accordance with Section I(A) above. The student can be a resident of another state, such as Connecticut or New Jersey, or can be an undocumented or out-of-status student. However, students who meet one of these criteria but do not have lawful immigration status must file an affidavit (i.e., a notarized statement) with CUNY stating that they have filed an application to legalize their immigration status or will file such an application as soon as they are eligible to do so. See Part B of CUNY Residency Form discussed below in Part II.

Any student who is eligible for resident tuition because he/she satisfies one of the three conditions above will remain eligible for that rate even if the student leaves and returns more than five years later or receives a degree and is returning for a second degree.

Any student who has been admitted to and is attending CUNY, who subsequently receives his GED (or TASC), does not qualify for the resident rate under the conditions stated above. CUNY does not recognize a New York State GED (or TASC) from any student who has already received a high school diploma or its equivalent from elsewhere.

To be accorded resident status, a student who is not a U.S. citizen must present valid evidence, issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), indicating that he/she is in a qualifying immigration status. Undocumented and out-of-status immigrants, while not eligible to be considered “residents”, may nevertheless be entitled to pay the resident tuition rate if they attended and graduated from high school or received a GED or TASC in New York State. See Part I, Section B below.

The following categories of students are in qualifying immigration statuses:
1. Students Who Are Lawful Permanent Residents (Resident Aliens)

There are two acceptable methods for verifying status as a lawful permanent resident. A student who has requested Federal financial aid, which has been verified by the Federal Financial Aid Central Processor, has his/her status automatically matched by the USCIS. This will be evident through the University’s coding of the student as a lawful permanent resident. In such cases, there is no need for a student to submit a Permanent Resident Card (Formerly, the Alien Registration Card or commonly referred to as a Green Card) or any other form of documentation regarding permanent residence. A student whose permanent residence status is not confirmed through the above match must provide one of the following proofs to verify his/her status:

  • Permanent Resident Card: Form I-151 (old) and Form I-551(new). Expired cards may be accepted; or
    • Unexpired Conditional Permanent Resident Card: Form I-551 with a two (2) year expiration date; or
    • Receipt for USCIS Form I-751: Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence; or
    • Receipt for USCIS form I-698: Application to Adjust Status from temporary to Permanent Resident or
    • I-551 Stamp in Passport indicating evidence of lawful permanent residence. Expired stamps may be accepted; or
    • Copy of USCIS Form I-90: Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (old: Alien Registration Card), along with a U.S. Postal Service return receipt or with a cancelled check or money order.

2. Students in Certain Non-Immigrant Statuses

The United States Supreme Court has held that certain non-immigrant aliens have the legal ability to establish New York as their domicile, i.e. the place where they intend to reside permanently. Accordingly, foreign nationals in specified immigration categories (refer to list below) should be afforded the opportunity to establish New York State and/or New York City residency provided that they meet all the requirements set forth in Part I.A above, including showing that they have a bona fide intention of living in New York permanently and not returning to their prior domicile.

The following is a list of the visa categories of non-immigrant aliens who under federal law have the capacity to make New York State or New York City their domicile and therefore may qualify for the resident rate of tuition if they otherwise meet the requirements:

  • A Ambassador, diplomats and certain other foreign officials and their families
    • E Treaty trader/Treaty investor, spouse, and children
    • G Certain government or international organization officials and their families
    • H-1B Temporary worker in specialty occupation
    • H-1C Temporary worker performing professional nursing services
    • H-4 Spouse or children of alien classified as H-1B or H-1C
    • I Representatives of foreign information media and their spouse and children
    • K Fiancé(e) or Spouse of a U.S. citizen and dependent children
    • L Intra-company transferee (such as managers who have worked abroad for a branch of a U.S. firm) and their spouse and children
    • N Parents and children of certain officers and employees of international organizations who were in turn granted permanent residency as special immigrants
    • O Aliens who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, Business or athletics, motion pictures or television
    • R Religious workers and their spouse and children
    • S Crime witnesses and their spouse and children
    • T Victims of severe forms of human trafficking
    • U Victims of serious crimes
    • V Certain spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who have a relative petition filed on their behalf before December 21, 2000 which has been pending for at least three (3) years.

A student who is in one of categories above must provide proof of such status by providing his/her I-94 Arrival/Departure record with either the notation Duration of Status (D/S) or an expiration date not yet reached.

Note: Where a qualified non-immigrant has made a timely application for an extension of stay as evidenced by a filing receipt for USCIS Form I-539, he/she remains eligible for in-state tuition. To “timely” file an application means that you file the application before your current period of authorized stay expires.

The following visa categories of non-immigrant aliens do not qualify for the resident rate of tuition:

  • B Temporary visitors for business or pleasure
    • C Visitors in transit
    • D Crewmen
    • F Academic students
    • H-2 Temporary workers performing special services
    • H-3 Trainees
    • H-4 Families of H-2 and H-3 visa holders (Note: H-4 family of an H-1B or H-1C are eligible)
    • J Exchange visitor (student, scholar, professor)
    • M Vocational students
    • P Athletes, group entertainers, reciprocal exchange programs
    • Q Participant in international cultural exchange programs
    • TN Temporary workers under NAFTA Trade Agreement

3. Students Admitted As Refugees, Or Granted Asylum, Or Granted Withholding Of Deportation Or Removal

It should be noted that a person whose evidence of Refugee or Asylum status has expired is nevertheless eligible for in-state tuition. The following are acceptable proofs of this status:

  • Decision from USCIS or the Immigration Judge granting Asylum or Withholding of Deportation or Removal; or
    • Refugee Travel Document; or
    • I-94 Arrival/Departure record with Employment Authorization Stamp and the notation “Asylum granted” or “Refugee granted”; or
    • Employment Authorization Document (EAD or work permit) (I-766) with the following codes: (A)(3) for Refugee, (A)(5) for Asylee, and (A)(10) for Withholding of Deportation or Removal.

4. Students with Adjustment of Status Applications Pending

Students who have filed USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status, qualify for in-state tuition pending a decision on their application. The following are acceptable proofs of this status:

      • A USCIS Receipt Notice for the Adjustment of Status Application: Form I-797C indicating that the receipt is for an I-485 Adjustment of Status application; or
        • A USCIS Receipt indicating that the fee for the adjustment application has been received. This receipt usually lists application type (in this case I-485), name of the applicant, alien number (“A” number) and the amount paid; or
        • Employment Authorization Card (I-766) with the code (c)(9) or (c)(24)

Note: Students who filed or have an approved petition (Form I-130 or I-140), but have not yet applied for adjustment of status are NOT eligible for in-state or resident tuition.

5. Students Who Have Applied For Or Have Been Granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

      • A USCIS Receipt of Application for TPS (Form I-821); or
        • A USCIS letter granting TPS; or
        • Employment Authorization Document (I-766) with the codes (a)(12) or (c)(19)

6.Students Granted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Status Or Deferred Action Or Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

These categories allow an individual to remain in the United States for designated time periods pending further review by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Commonly, Deferred Action is given to approved, self-petitioning battered spouses until such time as they become eligible for adjustment of status. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is generally granted by the President to nationals of certain countries that had previously been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) but TPS has expired.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a decision by the immigration authorities to not enforce the immigration law against a foreign national and it gives the foreign national a period of authorized stay in the United States. DACA is specifically geared toward certain undocumented young people who arrived in the United States at a very young age and who the government determines are a low priority for deportation from the United States. The following are acceptable proofs of this status:

      • Form I-797 granting Deferred Action, Deferred Enforced Departure status, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (No Exhibit); or
        • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (I-766) with the code (c)(14) for Deferred Action status (Addenda I – Exhibit 6A); or
        • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (I-766) with the code (a)(11) for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)/extended voluntary departure status (Addenda I – Exhibit 6B).
        • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (I-766) with the code (c)(33) for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

7. Students Who Are “Late Amnesty” Applicants

“Late Amnesty” applicants are immigrants who applied for immigration benefits under the 1986 Amnesty Laws but were not allowed to complete the process of adjusting their status. The LIFE Act signed into law by President Clinton on December 21, 2000 gave them the opportunity to adjust their immigration status. The following is the acceptable proof of this status:

      • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766) with the code (c)(24)

8. Students Who Are NACARA Applicants

These are applicants for permanent residence under the “Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act”. The following are the acceptable proofs of this status:

      • An Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766) with the code (c)(10)
        • An USCIS Receipt Form I-881

9. Students Who Are Cuban Parolees

The law provides for special procedures under which Cuban nationals or citizens and their accompanying spouses and children may obtain a haven in the United States and apply for permanent residence. The following are the acceptable proofs of this status:

      • A USCIS decision granting parole; or
        • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766) with the code (c)(11); or
        • Proof of an application pending for adjustment of status

10. Students Who Are Other Types of Parolees

The USCIS sometimes admits individuals in parole status for humanitarian or other reasons. For these individuals, their parolee status must be indicated on an unexpired document, i.e., passport, I-94 record or an USCIS letter. The following are the acceptable proof of this status:

      • A USCIS decision granting parole; or
        • I-94 record with stamp notation by the USCIS at entry

11. Students Who Have Applied For Asylum and Have Been Granted USCIS Employment Authorization

The USCIS sometimes, but not always, grants employment authorization to individuals with asylum applications pending. To prove this status, a student must provide an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766) with the Code (c)(8).

  1. Veterans

Effective Spring, 2015, individuals who are eligible for educational assistance under federal GI bills will be charged the in-state rate at the CUNY senior colleges and the in-city rate at the CUNY community colleges. This includes individuals who served in active military, naval or air service and members of the National Guard and reservists who meet the requirements for benefits under federal GI bills. A veteran who meets the above eligibility criteria is entitled to the in-state or in-city rate even if he or she is not actually receiving benefits under a federal GI bill.

In order to prove veteran status, a student must provide U.S. Department of Defense Form DD214 or a Certificate of Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration.

  1. Family Members Of Certain Uniformed Service Members

In certain cases, spouses and dependents of veterans or other uniformed service members are also entitled to educational assistance under federal GI bills. Effective Spring, 2015, spouses and dependents who are eligible for educational assistance under federal GI bills are also entitled to the in-state or in-city rate. Generally, these are the spouses or dependents of service members who died or were disabled by their service, or to whom the veteran has transferred his/her veteran’s educational benefits. Note that a student who was the spouse or dependent child of a service member at the time the educational assistance was transferred would be entitled to the resident rate, even if he/she is not currently a spouse or dependent child (for example in the case of a divorce.)

In order to prove status as a child or spouse of veteran, the child or spouse must provide a Certificate of Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration.

  1. Service Members And Family Members Stationed In New York

Members of the armed forces of the United States on a full-time active duty station in the State of New York, and their spouses and dependent children, who enroll at a CUNY college, shall be charged the in-state tuition rate. Such students shall continue to be charged the in-state rate at CUNY even if they are subsequently discharged from military service.

  1. United Nations Personnel

Foreign nationals employed by the United Nations, wishing to take advantage of the University’s resident tuition rates, must present verification of their status as: 1) employee of the United Nations, 2) the spouse, or 3) a dependent of a United Nation employee. The verification required is at least an annual certification from the Office of Human Resources Management. It is recommended, however, that confirmation be obtained from the Personnel Officer at the United Nations each semester because employment status can change rather frequently. The employees, spouses of employees and dependent children of employees of the United Nations shall be deemed to be residents of New York City.

  1. Exchange Students

The University’s resident tuition rate may be applicable to a student of another college or university outside of New York State, which, in exchange, grants its resident tuition rate to the CUNY student. Evidence of satisfactory educational qualifications must be presented and the approval of the CUNY College’s president or designee is required.

  1. Children Of Certain CUNY And New York City Employees

On June 14, 1976, the Board passed a resolution stating that “a child of a member of the permanent staff of the Board, or a child of a deceased or retired member of such staff who had served for more than five years on an annual salary, or a child of an employee of New York City or of a City agency who is required to live outside New York City in the performance of his/her official duties shall be charged resident rates”.

The definition of who is considered permanent staff of the Board is set forth in Section 6.2 of the Bylaws of the CUNY Board of Trustees.  Under Section 6.2, this staff consists of persons who have been granted tenure in tenure-eligible titles, including but not limited to professors, associate professors, and assistant professors (including those in medical and law professor titles), college laboratory technician titles; and teachers and other tenure-bearing titles at the Hunter College Campus Schools.

Forms to be Completed

Forms will soon be available online. In the meantime, please visit the Hub to obtain copies.

Appeal Process

Time Frame for College Review

The colleges should make every effort to complete all residency determinations by the first day of classes. If a student has submitted the required documentation and a decision has not been made by the college by the first day of classes, the college should defer the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition until the determination is made. If resident tuition is denied and the student subsequently files an appeal under the procedures described further below, the student is responsible for paying out-of-state tuition while the appeal is pending.

The colleges will not review any residency determination unless the request for the review is made in writing, and all required documentation is submitted on or before the last day of finals in the semester for which resident tuition is being sought. The colleges will not make residency determinations retroactively and will not issue refunds to students even in cases where they would have qualified for the resident rate if they had submitted timely documentation.

The colleges should inform students of their determinations in writing.

Appeal Process

Any student who receives a negative residency determination must, at the same time, receive a copy of the University’s appeal procedures. If the student believes that he/she meets requirements for resident tuition, he or she may appeal by notifying the Registrar’s Office (or other designated college appeal office) within ten days of notification that he/she has been determined to be a non-resident. At that time, the student must submit a statement to the Registrar (or other designated official) indicating why he/she disagrees with the college’s decision.

Upon submission of an appeal, the student will be provided with a copy, stamped “received” and dated, or some other dated proof of the college’s receipt of the appeal. The Registrar (or other designated official) will submit the City University Residency Form, copies of all documentation provided by the student and any statement made by the student, along with the college’s determination and the reasons for the College’s determination, to the University’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, which will make a final determination regarding the student’s residency status.